Spiritual Practices in Times of Crisis: Nature's Peace
Take a breath and open to this peaceful thought:
Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished. -Lao Tzu
Yes! Just the medicine we all need right now.
As we continue our series on Spiritual Practices in Times of Crisis, (find the previous posts on Gratitude and Meditation here), this simple gem, available to every human, can transform us in the same way as the practices of gratitude and meditation can.
Today we look at:
Nature’s welcoming arms are always open. They allow our spirits to expand outward from our hearts into her safety, holding space for our wildest dreams and our most intense emotions.
She accepts them all and gives them back to us in an awed exhale of peace. She leaves us feeling renewed, relaxed and recharged.
When we need a higher perspective or a jump start for our creativity, Nature waves flags of infinite beauty.
When emotions loom large and the future seem daunting, Nature invites us to be still in her embrace.
For spiritual connection, wellness, strength, wonder and focus—Nature donates her gifts.
With infinite Divine kindness, Nature offers us beauty, health, respite, meditation and solace from our worldly stress.
There is no better prescription for us in these times of uncertainty.
WHY IT WORKS
Nature relaxes. De-stresses. Eases anxiety. Holds space for our intense emotions.
She relieves. Soothes. Inspires.
It's not Nature over there and Us over here. We are not separate. On a soul level, we are one with all beings - and with the earth.
There is an untapped wisdom in the natural world that our ancestors knew - but most of us have long forgotten.
That Nature is one of our most eloquent teachers.
Since the beginning of time she has mirrored lessons of patience, resilience, growth, change, rebirth, death, strength, abundance, transformation.
Deep soul wisdom seems to be more readily available out there.
When we listen. When we look.
Botanist and inventor, George Washington Carver, was born into slavery and rose to become one of America’s most influential voices of agriculture in the South.
Every single day, from the time he was a child, he woke and took a long walk in nature, asking God for the day's plan.
A prolific inventor and professor, he always got his answer.
Here is his philosophy:
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. -George Washington Carver
If we will only tune in. We can do this.
Nature's gifts are unlimited when we connect with her in an intentional way.
I have many friends who take daily walks that reveal answers, provide direction, unveil solutions. Others who use their walks to relieve stress, clear their minds from overwhelm, reduce fear. Some who take walks with their kids to look, listen and learn.
The common thread is that they have all committed to developing a spiritual practice with Nature's peace.
The treasures are endless when you walk out of your door with the intention to interface with miracles. Flow with Nature's gifts and offer gratitude as you go.
1. Mindful walk outside. Use all of your senses. Greet nature mindfully, noticing the small beauties, the rich colors, the new growth, the leaves in flight. Collect grasses, seed pods and wildflowers for art projects with kids. Pause to soak up the smell of pine, the color of flowers or a lilting bird song. Listen. Observe. Relax. Savor the moments.
(More about this on the March 20 page of Every Day Spirit.) 2. Discover a hiking trail, river or park. 3. Notice sunrise and sunset. Look for the colors. Check out the clouds. Make them daily events, even from the windows. 4. Notice the night sky. What constellations are visible now? What planets can you find? What is the phase of our companion, the Moon? 5. Take a bike ride. Feel the wind on your face. Check out nature as you go. See if you can name the types of trees, grasses and flowers. Stop and notice interesting things on the way. 6. Look with awe at the creatures: birds, bugs, bunnies, squirrels. Put out a bird feeder or bird bath. Set a bench outside or bring out a cushion for the deck chair. Move a chair to the window so you can see what's going on out there. 7. Absorb the peaceful sound of water: lakes, rivers, waves, waterfalls - even the tiniest ones over rocks in a stream. Water elements, even the ones in our houses, (and showers!) have been proven to bring the relaxation of meditation. Allow the sound of water to soothe and comfort. (More about this on the June 3 page of Every Day Spirit.) 8. Communicate. It's okay to speak your fears, to pray your prayers, to ask your questions out loud. I am well known around here for talking out loud to animals - but I also talk out loud when I walk on the beach - prayers, gratitudes, requests for guidance. Try it. You will feel the grace that responds to your thoughts. 9. Plant something easy - tomatoes and basil in a small garden area. Flower pots on the porch. An herb garden on the kitchen window sill. 10. Buy or pick fresh flowers. It's a beautiful way to bring the outside in and wake up the house with beauty and a sense of the miraculous.
Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote so beautifully about being in awe of nature. He said: To be spiritual is to be amazed.
Yes! Let's be amazed.
SPECIAL TREAT: HEAVEN HANDS
Author and energy healer, Donna Eden, teaches a beautiful and simple exercise that I adore and do almost every day.
Go outside and raise your arms over your head, hands to the heavens. Ask within for everything that you might need to come into your hands. Wait a few moments in stillness. You will feel your hands tingling.
Then take your hands and put them over your heart. Ask that all of the gifts received flow into your heart for the highest good of all.
In times of challenge, our spiritual practices are more important than ever.
Not only can we take deliberate actions to decrease our stress levels - we can enhance our spiritual connection that brings hope, peace and perspective to all aspects of our lives.
So let's remember that a practice only works - when we practice. :)
We can do this. Comfort and joy await. Put down the phone and walk out the door.
I'm walking beside you in every step. There's no place I'd rather be. So much love and many blessings, Mary xo
PS My daughter, Maya, has a beautiful post: 5 Daily Ways to Connect to Nature's Magic (Despite Your Busy Schedule). One of my favorite lines: “Nature is not in a hurry to force growth whose time has not come. It shows us patience and trust in what we can’t yet see.” -Maya Davis
Previous posts in this series, Spiritual Practices in Times of Crisis, are here.